Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Paint With Stain: Staircase Landing Makeover

 My Husband and I decided it was time to take the sorry looking carpet off of the stairs to do a staircase makeover. The full makeover will come in a future blog post, so keep an eye out for it!

When we painstakingly ripped, pulled, strained, and blistered our hands removing the overly stapled carpet, we came to the landing and were greatly disappointed.
I was thinking the wood under the carpet on the landing would be planked like the floor in the foyer at the base of the stairs, but it wasn't. Instead, the landing was a solid sheet of oak that resembled plywood...not my cup-o-tea at all. Here's what it looked like:

 See what I mean? Not really my thing. Being the optimist that I am, I just pushed the landing issue aside to continue assisting my Husband pull the carpet off the rest of the stairs, which was really really hard to do! He did 90% of it.

I figured I could come up with something to overcome the issue...maybe paint a compass on it? Maybe create some trim with stain? From there, the possible solutions began to come in and out as I worked.

A couple hours later, I thought maybe I could paint a rose on the landing in stain! That idea stuck. Within 20 minutes, I was collecting my supplies to get started.

 I don't have pictures of every step, unfortunately. The Mr. took on kid duty so I could dive in completely, as I treated this like I would one of my paintings. I even listened to a song on repeat that helped inspire me. The song was Caught A Long Wind by Feist (Lexer's Little Bird remake), just in case you were curious :)

Let's get started!

1) The Mr. took a palm sander to the entire surface of the landing for me. He took the shine off completely.

2) Next, I washed the landing with a sponge and warm water until all the dust was gone, and waited for it to dry.

3) After looking at some pics of roses online for reference, I got started drawing my version out in pencil.

4) Once I had the entire rose drawn in pencil, I took a small paintbrush and Varathane Kona wood stain to begin "painting" in the petals.

5) Using a 1/2 inch flat paintbrush similar to the one in the photo below, I went over the outline of a petal with a thin, but well saturated line of stain. Slowly, I blended it out with the brush, away from the petal to create a shadow.

Some areas of the petals would be darker than others depending on how I wanted the petal to appear (curved, bent, behind another petal's shadow, etc.). This is where it might be helpful to have some experience with shading and light/shadows.

I allowed some thick areas of stain to remain where I wanted it to be really dark. After this, I moved on to start another petal, then went back again to blend the first petal out further. It was a process of back and forth; start a petal, go back to the one before, and so on. The longer the stain sits on the wood, the darker it will be, so blending and shading out in stages will give a nice gradient effect. Where I wanted the wood to be lightest, I didn't put any stain on it at all.

Nearly filled in, but with some shading left to do:
 After more shading done:

 6) Once the rose was the way I liked it, I signed my name in a camouflaged spot and allowed the entire thing to dry completely. Fans and good ventilation were helpful.

7) Next, I wiped on a coat of Minwax fast-drying polyurethane (gloss) with a rag to protect it.

  8) When the polyurethane dried (fast!), I discovered it lost some depth. Some lighter spots appeared darker than they did without the poly: to remedy this, I sanded all of the areas I wanted to be lighter, using the sandpaper sort of like an eraser in pencil drawings. I ONLY sanded the spots I wanted lighter.

9) The landing got another wipe-down to clean off any dust from sanding.

10) Once completely dry, I applied another two full coats of polyurethane allowing it to dry between coats. Fans and ventilation were helpful again.

Here is the finished product! Don't mind the spindles, wainscoting, and whatnot changing throughout these pics; we did this at the same time as the staircase makeover. I will be posting all of those before and after pics soon!

Like the dark spindles and faux wainscoting? Staircase makeover tutorial coming soon!

Don't mind the weird stain patterns on the stairs from the carpet, we hadn't re-stained the steps yet.

  I'd say that's much better than the plain solid sheet of oak! What do you think?

Until next time...create away!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Media Console From Repurposed Dresser

My Grandma called one day to tell me she had a dresser that someone put out on their front lawn to give away for free; a few hours later, I was in possession of this...

It was this lovely solid wood dresser that had seen better days, and right away I knew I wanted to make it into a media console. After discussing which color to go with on Facebook, I decided to go for a black worn Pottery Barn look.

This project involved my Husband. One of the things that has kept us close all of these years has been doing projects together; this was one of them.

I went through my quick mental checklist of how much work I was willing to put into this piece of furniture, and got started. See the checklist here.

1) I removed contact paper while the Mr. removed the framing to the bottom six drawers. We would only be keeping the top three drawers in the unit. There was quite a bit of contact paper in all of the drawers, so I got started on peeling it out and giving each drawer a wash (including the bottom six because I will be using them for something else...look for that tutorial in the near future!).

2) Once all the framing to the bottom drawers were out, The Mr. began lining the back and floor of the table with wood he cut to size, while I removed the hardware.

Here is what it looked like with the full lining.

3) After the lining was finished, I began sanding with fine grit sandpaper. I sanded enough to take the shine off, which is why I skipped priming. If you are worried the paint won't adhere well with sanding alone, prime it first.

4) Next, the entire table got a good wipe-down with a sponge and warm water.

5) Once the dresser was completely dry, I laid down my tarp, put some old floor pieces under the feet to protect the carpet, removed the drawers, and began to paint. I used Rust-Oleum Painters' Touch Ultra Cover Premium Latex Paint in black semi-gloss. This product is not meant to be rolled on, per the instructions on the back of the can. I learned that after I rolled the top and it began to crackle. Since the paint was still wet when I realized this, I was able to put the roller away and use a brush to smooth it out.

Don't use a roller!

6) After two coats on the front and legs, three on the top and sides, the painting was complete. After drying for several hours, I took sandpaper to the edges to give the worn look.

If you wanted to protect it from there, you could always add a glaze. I'm a busy Mom of three with a lot to do, as well as a pretty hefty load of hobbies, so I wasn't interested in this project taking forever...I mean, it WAS free, so I had nothing to lose.

Here is the finished table!

Here it is over a year and a half later. There's a little extra wear and tear along the bottom where the kids like to rest their feet to watch movies (just adds to the worn look, if you ask me!), but otherwise, it's held up perfectly.

There you have it! If you would like a way to create a nice looking media console for very little cost, this might be something that could work for you! We have received many compliments, and The Mr. and I are quite proud of it. 

Until next time...create away!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Vintage Faux Leather-top Pedestal Table: Easy Makeover!

Looking over my past projects, I'm disappointed in the pics I have of before and during. As I catch up and do new projects, I will certainly provide better pics!

This makeover is about as easy as it gets! All I really used was simple latex wall paint....shhhh, that's our secret! While I appreciate taking the proper steps to ensure a table will look perfect and last a lifetime, I take a few things into consideration:

  • How much wear and tear will the piece ACTUALLY get?
  • How much did you pay for it?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • How long do you think you'll have it?
  • Will you be going for a worn look?
  • Could it always be painted again?

When I go over these questions, that is usually what determines how much work I'm willing to put into a piece of furniture like this. Taking this particular table into consideration, it went like this:

  • It won't get much wear and tear as it will be tucked away in a corner between a sofa and loveseat.
  • Got it on Craigslist for $5!
  • No sentimental value to me.
  • I'll have it for however long I can make it work in my home.
  • Yes, I'll be going for a worn look.
  • It could be painted again if I got sick of the color.

After going through this quick mental checklist, I decided that it wasn't going to be necessary to wash, sand, wash, prime, paint, and clear coat this piece. Once I knew what I had in mind, I looked through my leftover wall paint, knowing exactly which one I wanted to find...then I got started:

1) I wiped down the entire piece with antibacterial wipes. It just felt better to sanitize the table before handling it since it was old and I got it on Craigslist. I washed the faux leather gently, but a bit more thoroughly with soap and water.

2) The piece was pretty worn and beat up, so I knew it would only need a light sanding. I took a fine grit sanding bar to it to take off any shine.

3) There was a thin wooden ring along the underside of the top of the table that was chipped, broken, and coming off; rather than attempting to repair it, I just pulled the whole thing off and left it at that.

4) I gave the entire table a wipe down making sure there wasn't any remaining dust from the sanding.

5) After the table was completely dry, I began painting. I used Behr latex flat enamel paint with primer, in "Sunporch". The paint has the primer mixed right in with it. Again, this paint was leftover from a room in my house, so there was no additional cost there! I used a small craft paintbrush to freehand paint the top ring close to the faux leather. I didn't want to tape on the old faux leather just in case it might've taken some of the material off. You could probably tape if you used a painters tape that isn't super sticky, but I would be careful with that.

6) The table took two coats of paint total. Once completely dried, I took the sanding block to all the edges and a couple spots on the round pieces of the pedestal to give it the worn look. Easy peasy and done in just a few hours time!

I didn't bother using a primer first or protecting it afterwards with a clear coat because as I said in my mental checklist, it won't get much wear and tear, and I want it to look worn anyway. This project is nearly two years old and the table looks exactly the same now as when I first painted it. It was a good call skipping the other steps!

If you have an old table that could be brought back to life, this might be a good option to try!

Until next time...create away!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Repurposed Kitchen Canister Set

As I take a look around my house, I'm overwhelmed by how many projects I have done and how many I would like to add to this blog. I decided to start out with a quick and easy one...my Grandmother's canister set!

When my Grandmother passed away, I inherited her canister set that was on top of her kitchen cabinets my entire childhood. The canisters were always something that caught my eye as a little girl because they reminded me of old fashioned candy jars. The only problem was, they didn't really work with my kitchen and I didn't care for the particular wood finish that was on them, so I decided to give them a facelift and repurpose them! My vision was for a decorative and functional tub-side canister set for bath salt storage.

1) To start, the lids and stand were dusty and covered in your typical kitchen grease goop, which had to be cleaned off. I gently washed the lids and stand in the sink with dawn dish soap and warm water while I ran the glass bowls through the dishwasher.

2) After drying completely, I moved them to a well ventilated area onto a plastic tarp and applied a mask to begin painting. There was some fading that had happened over the years from sitting and probably from the grease as well, so that is what the dusty looking areas are.

3) Next, I removed the lids and laid them out on the tarp along with the stand to prepare for painting. I moved the jars to another spot where they wouldn't get paint on them. I used Krylon Metallic Brilliant paint in silver.  

4) After allowing the lids and stand to dry completely, I then turned and adjusted them on the tarp to paint the areas I couldn't get the first time. If the finish is too shiny for your liking and you would like it to have more of a brushed or worn look, you could always take some steal wool to it, or even some fine grit sandpaper to take the shine off. 

5) Once dried, I put the lids back on the jars and transported the set to its new home on the side of the garden tub in the master bath. I filled the jars with various scented bath salts, and voila! I love the way it turned out and how convenient it is as a little salt station! 

Until next time...create away!